Passage Maker - - News & Notes - BY BEN EL­LI­SON, via his elec­tron­ics blog Panbo (

im­proved vis­i­bil­ity dur­ing night­time and low-vis­i­bil­ity pas­sages.

Ad­di­tional fea­tures in­clude an en­gine room with 6 feet, 6 inches of head­room, sin­gle or twin power, port and star­board wing dock­ing sta­tions, and a large fly­bridge with op­tions for a hard­top as well as a sum­mer kitchen.

Visit www.kadeykro­gen.com


Soel Yachts (pro­nounced “soul”) and Naval DC have teamed up to en­gi­neer a 39-foot power cata­ma­ran. As de­signed, the ves­sel would sport a beam of 19 feet, and weigh in at just over 10,000 pounds. The au­ton­o­mous, so­lar-elec­tric power cat would be the very essence of “green:” A zero-emis­sion craft to be used as a coastal-wa­ter pas­sen­ger ferry for in­ter-is­land trans­porta­tion, whale watch­ing tours, and re­search and div­ing ex­pe­di­tions.

The SoelCat 12 will fea­ture a large hard­top roof, topped by a mas­sive so­lar panel ar­ray that will pro­duce out­put power of 8.6kW, which is enough to pro­pel the ves­sel to an au­ton­o­mous 5-knot cruis­ing speed. Dur­ing day­light, the 485-square-foot so­lar panel will recharge a lithium-ion bat­tery bank, which will pro­vide enough ca­pac­ity to give the SoelCat 12 an op­er­at­ing range of 50 miles at the ser­vice speed of 8 knots, or 100 miles at a speed of 6 knots.

The SoelCat 12 fea­tures a twin in­stal­la­tion of Naval DC’s in­te­grated 30kW so­lar-elec­tric drivetrain sys­tem and can be trans­ported all over world via two stan­dard ship­ping con­tain­ers.

Visit www.soely­achts.com The first U.S. Elec­tric and Hy­brid Marine Expo was won­der­fully ed­u­ca­tional, though I hardly knew any of the com­pa­nies in­volved and could only un­der­stand a frac­tion of some sem­i­nars.

On the other hand, I met Ru­fus Van Gruisen, a fa­mil­iar fel­low en­thu­si­ast whose flight ar­rived at the Fort Laud­erdaleHol­ly­wood In­ter­na­tional Air­port at about the same time as mine. Ru­fus owns and op­er­ates Cay Elec­tron­ics, and it turns out he’s done more than just dream about quiet, ef­fi­cient, and elec­tric plea­sure-craft. He helped his son build the first eCraft Yachts 20 that ap­peared at the New­port In­ter­na­tional Boat Show in Septem­ber 2015. It looks like an ex­cel­lent de­sign to me, and you can find more de­tails on Face­book and in the Great Lakes Scut­tle­butt. It is a pure elec­tric day­boat that is charged at a dock or your home.

Far­ther-roam­ing ves­sels need some sort of hy­brid propul­sion, one of which is the Steyr par­al­lel Hy­brid Drive Sys­tem (HDS). It won nu­mer­ous awards when launched in 2008, and while it had some early clutch is­sues—fixed with a re­design—this is the tech­nol­ogy be­hind the suc­cess­ful fleet of Greenline Yachts (more than 450 built). The good news (not yet on­line) is that a “com­ing soon” new HDS de­sign will of­fer 20kW of pure elec­tric drive, a big step up from 7kW pow­er­plant cur­rently avail­able.

Ex­hib­ited on the show floor was a pure­elec­tric Mal­ibu 23 LSV wake boat, which is no­table when you re­al­ize that th­ese boats are power hun­gry and in­ef­fi­cient. LTS Marine had to power the hunky 160kW mo­tor with two cus­tom wa­ter­cooled lithium bat­tery banks to achieve a max­i­mum speed of 33 knots and one hour of 20-knot au­ton­omy be­fore head­ing back to a charg­ing sta­tion.

Her owner spent an ex­tra $170,000 not to have gas fumes mess­ing with his fun. Al­though this pure-elec­tric Mal­ibu may rep­re­sent an im­prac­ti­cal ex­treme of elec­tric boat­ing, LTS has proved that it can be done (with some gor­geous-look­ing en­gi­neer­ing). I did get laugh­ing about one prob­a­bly un­in­tended con­se­quence: The lakes that don’t al­low in­ter­nal com­bus­tion en­gines and where gen­tle electrics like the eBoat 20 of­ten find a home may now learn about the wild world of wake­sports.

Also on dis­play was a Sym­phony Con­duc­tor Six-1 gen­tle­man’s run­about which, the builder claims, can cruise at about 20 knots fully loaded. The mo­tor is a Torqeedo Deep Blue 80i rated at about 80 horse­power at its 66kW peak in­put. The juice comes from a pair of Torqeedo’s big Deep Blue 80 HV lithium bat­ter­ies, which weigh 330 pounds each but hold 12.8kW hours of us­able power at 345 volts.

So why the reg­u­lar 12V bat­tery? One of the many safety fea­tures built into the whole mod­u­lar Deep Blue fam­ily is a care­ful seg­re­ga­tion of the very high volt­age parts. In fact, you can’t use those big lithium

bat­ter­ies un­til the 12V-pow­ered mon­i­tor­ing sys­tem makes sure that all the high-volt­age con­nec­tions and other pro­tec­tive sen­sors check out as a-okay.

Torqeedo also dis­played its Deep Blue 80i elec­tric in­board and the large HV bat­tery pack, which comes with a 9-year war­ranty on 80 per­cent of its orig­i­nal ca­pac­ity even if you use it ev­ery day. The com­pany re­cently added a steer­able elec­tric saildrive to its line. Ac­cord­ing to re­ports, it can be used to gen­er­ate power when sail­ing by se­lect­ing the amount of drag/am­per­age you want. The full dual-drive cata­ma­ran sys­tem comes with joystick dock­ing.

Safety is a large and un­der­stand­able con­cern on a boat with very-high­volt­age cables and bat­ter­ies ca­pa­ble, say, of feed­ing a 160kW mo­tor at wide-open throt­tle. You hear some scary sto­ries about the dam­age that sort of cur­rent can in­flict, and sev­eral sem­i­nars also in­cluded slides show­ing ther­mal run­away. Ev­ery­one in the busi­ness of de­vel­op­ing hy­brid power sys­tems is look­ing for bet­ter bat­ter­ies— man, there’s a con­fus­ing sub­ject—and also more en­ergy-ef­fi­cient ways to feed them.

The Be-Wind ver­ti­cal wind tur­bines be­ing shown in the At­las Marine Sys­tems booth is one way to feed hun­gry bat­ter­ies. Darned if I could find any­thing on­line about this sys­tem, but an At­las rep told me that it can han­dle hur­ri­cane-level winds, eas­ily pro­duces 1kW, and taller mod­els can pro­duce more. I think we’ll no­tice if th­ese be­come pop­u­lar on the megay­achts At­las works with.

Mean­while, the In­erjy EcoVert 75kW Tur­bine makes for a much more am­bi­tious boat pro­ject and while it hasn’t been built yet, you can con­tem­plate the ideas be­hind the Gemma One de­sign. The EcoVert has many uses, but it hap­pens that In­erjy co­founder, Jamie Sch­linkman, is a boater. In fact, he pointed out that they use three Maretron ul­tra­sonic wind sen­sors on each tur­bine mast along with a CANbus con­trol sys­tem. Sch­linkman quickly ac­knowl­edged that the EcoVert ver­ti­cal tur­bine de­sign has a long his­tory, but he says that only now are the en­abling tech­nolo­gies fall­ing into place. I be­lieve that holds true for much of what’s hap­pen­ing with hy­brid boats, and it’s quite ex­cit­ing.

The Gemma One dream also re­minded me of watch­ing in awe as the es­teemed lo­cal schooner cap­tain and in­ven­tor Hav­i­lah Hawkins whomped around Penob­scot Bay on his “wind­mill boat” back in the ’ 80s, some­times dead into the wind. The power and propul­sion mech­a­nisms were en­tirely me­chan­i­cal and pos­si­bly a bit fright­en­ing in ac­tion up close, but Capt. Hawkins cer­tainly had the spirit, and I be­lieve he’d en­joy at least some of what’s go­ing on to­day.

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